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Alice Buchanan

'Women’s relationship with ale, brewing and alehouses between 1300-1600'

Alice studied the effects of intoxication between 1300 and 1600 and the relationship between women and ale, brewing and alehouses. Her Extended Project evolved from a general look at women and alcohol in early modern England to a more specific evaluation, including both the decline of female brewsters and the relationship between different types of women and alehouses within her chosen time period.


What sources did you use in your research?

My supervisor suggested that I contact Professor Withington of Sheffield University, who is an expert in the field of intoxication in early modern history. I emailed Mr Withington and we arranged a meeting in which I explained to him my initial ideas and he recommended to me that I could perhaps add another focus to my project; crime. He showed me a website ( which I used to research crimes due to intoxication in the 16th century.

I also annotated academic journals including: Peter Clark 'The English Alehouse: a Social History 1300-1830' (1983); Tim Reinke-Williams 'Women, Ale and Company in Early Modern London' (2010); and Phil Withington 'Intoxicants and Society in Early Modern England' (2011).

Why did you choose this project?

The century in which I based my research interested me heavily after I enjoyed the 'Tudor' aspect of my A-Level History course, which has led me to develop an interest in the lives of common people during this time, specifically women and the comparison between their behaviors in early modern history vs now. I chose to look at intoxicants, specifically alcohol, as I was intrigued by the way in which they were utilized by the ordinary Tudor women.

What did you enjoy?

I thoroughly enjoyed looking into a 'niche' subject and gaining an expertise into a very specific area of history because I feel a sense of accomplishment, as the resources I used were limited and difficult to find, but through perseverance I managed to produce my essay nonetheless and proved to myself a level of capability and independence.

What did you learn?

I have learnt to manage my time as I have had to plan my time, spreading a heavy workload over a longer period so that it became manageable and my work was not rushed. This was also the first time I have had to reference properly and I feel this is a really valuable skill which I have gained and will use for the rest of my working life. I also became better at skim reading and picking relevant information out of long passages of text, which again I feel will benefit me in terms of my future academic study.

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